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The Amateur (1981)

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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 597 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 2 critic

A researcher for the CIA who convinces his superiors to send him to the eastern bloc in order to avenge the murder of his wife by enemy agents discovers a web of deception underneath his ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Amateur (1981)

The Amateur (1981) on IMDb 5.7/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Heller
Professor Lakos
Arthur Hill ...
Miguel Fernandes ...
Jan Tríska ...
Graham Jarvis ...
Jacques Godin ...
Chapelle Jaffe ...


A researcher for the CIA who convinces his superiors to send him to the eastern bloc in order to avenge the murder of his wife by enemy agents discovers a web of deception underneath his wife's death. Written by Keith Loh <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a world of professional assassins, there's no room for an amateur. See more »


Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Amateur  »

Box Office


CAD 10,600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Actor Christopher Plummer doesn't appear in the movie until the 53 minute mark. See more »


Kaplan: I lost my first wife, my first family. Two beautiful little girls. In the war, in the camps. I thought for a long time the loss would kill me but, I survived.
Charles Heller: How?
Kaplan: By creating a ritual to keep me alive. To survive the death of people close to you, you need a ritual. A ritual for revenge is what I made. I thought about it and planned it every waking moment. When I got out I spent three years tracking down the doctor who sent them to the camps.
Charles Heller: Did you fing him?
Kaplan: I found him, yes.
Charles Heller: What did... what...
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Czechs? Check! Bad Czechs? Check!
8 February 2008 | by (Zurich, Switzerland) – See all my reviews

I have never been to the Czech Republic yet, but I hope that some day I will make it. This movie will certainly not influence my decision – but Czechs might like to watch it. Will they recognize their own country? I doubt it.

Basically this is a vigilante movie. Some terrorists (not oriental Muslims for once but German home grown nut cases) storm the American consulate in Munich, take all people hostage and ask for the release of some of their comrades. Otherwise they will kill a hostage every, say, half hour. For good measure they kill a young woman right after formulating their demands. As fate would have it, it's the fiancée of a CIA ciphers specialist who decides that he wants to go after the killers (who got away) and kill them in turn, cost it what it may.

The terrorist's area for occasional relaxation and training sessions is the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia. So our hero has to go there and forces his employer to help him. Once there he discovers that they don't like him at the CIA and are after his hide. But among bad to brutish Czechs he finds good Czechs who will gladly risk their lives so that he can fulfill his (perfectly understandable) dreams of revenge.

Very often this movie is outright ridiculous. But there are a few very good and excellently filmed scenes. The highlight for me is the young yet very bald terrorist who takes a swim in a luxurious old Czech hotel, all on his own, only to get blown up by our hero with the help of plastics taped to the glass pane which separates the pool from the bar. The acting is so so but Christopher Plummer is simply brilliant as the sophisticated bad Czech. There seem to be no limits for this wonderful actor, he really is extremely versatile. The Czech outdoor scenes were partly filmed in Vienna, there are also a few great shots of 19th century Munich.

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